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Exclusive: Watford among Championship clubs eyeing move for Newcastle star

Watford are interested in Newcastle veteran Matt Ritchie

Watford are interested in Newcastle veteran Matt Ritchie

Watford are among a number of Championship clubs eyeing a move for Newcastle winger Matt Ritchie, TEAMtalk can exclusively reveal.

Ritchie will be a free agent once he is officially released from his contract at the end of June, as the Magpies officially announced last week.

The 34-year-old made 17 appearances in all competitions for Newcastle last season and scored his final goal for the club with a vital equaliser in the draw with former club Bournemouth in February.

Former Scotland international Ritchie joined Newcastle from Bournemouth following the Magpies’ relegation from the Premier League in 2016 and was an instrumental part of their Championship title-winning campaign in 2016/17.

Ritchie played a key role in helping Newcastle re-establish themselves back in the Premier League and went on to make 215 appearances for the club in total, scoring 25 goals during his eight years on Tyneside.

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Sources have informed TEAMtalk that a host of Championship clubs are weighing up a move for Ritchie as they look to bolster their squads ahead of next season.

We understand Watford boss Tom Cleverley is a big admirer of the experienced forward and sees his experience and versatility in that he can play anywhere down the left side as a key addition to his plans at Vicarage Road.

Tom Cleverly a ‘big admirer’ of Newcastle veteran

Cleverly has enjoyed a good start to his managerial career with Watford, with the Hornets losing just two of his nine matches in charge so far.

They will hope to challenge for the play-off spots in the coming season and the 34-year-old coach knows he’ll have to strengthen his squad to achieve that.

Signing a player like Ritchie with experience of playing at the highest level, as well as promotion campaigns, could be a step in the right direction for Watford.

There are plenty of clubs keen to sign the Newcastle man however and Watford will have to move quickly to get a deal done.

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